Carpe Diem, Page 34

You stop in your tracks. There’s more of them than there is of you. Plus, you’re desperate for provisions. As uneasy as you may feel about the situation, they’re probably the only human contact you will have for the next few days.

The guards approach and surround you. “You’re coming with us. Don’t resist, and everything will be alright.”

They’re not the best welcoming committee, but it’s better than nothing. Still, as you’re curious about what’s going on, you decide to ask the guards why they’re detaining you. “Why are you arresting me?”

To which you get a solemn reply: “Shut up!”

It seems that these are the serious type and make for dreadful travel companions — no wonder they ended up as guards! The good in this situation is that at least they haven’t put you in chains… yet.

They march you down towards the town, and as you make your way closer, you can make out some of its layout. The town is surrounded by an outer wall, with random hovels dotting the land in its shadow. More guards stand watch over a grandiose gate. When you finally reach it, one of your entourage yells out, “Open the gate!” and after a few moments, the doors slowly swing inward.

As you are taken through the town, you take in the different sights: the run-down houses of the townsfolk and craftsmen, the shrines along the road, the town square and its market stalls, and finally, your destination — the guard’s barracks. You are taken inside and escorted to a room with only a small window and a three-legged chair inside it.

“Wait here,” said the guard.

It isn’t the ideal accommodation, but it’s better than a gravely road at least. So, you go inside and sit down on the chair. Finally, some rest from the long road, you think.

It seems that your rest will be cut short, though, as soon after you sit down, a formidable-looking man enters the room.